Spotting and Avoiding Blackhat SEO

Not everything in the world of digital marketing is sunshine and rainbows. Just as there are many who do so across other industries, there are people who try to take advantage of vulnerabilities in the system for personal gain. In the instance of digital marketing, the vulnerabilities come in the form of the Google algorithm. Having a person behind a desk at Google HQ grading every website on the internet would probably be enough to drive them mad, hence, Google looks to have this menial task carried out by someone who can’t hand in a resignation letter; specifically, the AI algorithm they themselves have created. While the algorithm has been rebuilt and refined countless times, there are still techniques to game the system, techniques blackhat SEO agencies are more than happy to employ.

Blackhat SEO – What is it?

At a fundamental level, blackhat SEO looks to achieve the same goal as whitehat SEO: the growth of their client across Google and the digital space. The method that is employed to get them there is what sets the two apart. Blackhat SEO takes advantage of the ranking systems to try and trick Google into awarding their client a higher ranking on the search engine even though their website may not be at an adequate level – or in even more extreme circumstances – not even relevant to the subject they are ranking for.

Blackhat SEO – How to Spot it

Spotting blackhat SEO practices isn’t all that difficult as they are designed to trick the Google algorithm rather than people. If you type ‘digital marketing agency’ into Google and click on a site only to find that every third word in the content block is ‘digital marketing agency’, you’re probably not going to assume it’s a fancy new writing style. Google on the other hand, might. This blackhat technique is called keyword stuffing and is one of the most common; the idea behind it is that Google is far more likely to rank websites for terms that it mentions numerous times across its content. By absolutely cramming in the keywords, the website gives itself a good chance to cover a broader range of search queries or rank well for high volume searches.

Blackhat SEO, however, isn’t just limited to one technique and you’re likely to come across a whole plethora of ways people try to game the system. Another popular (unpopular?) technique is referred to as cloaking and involves showing two different pieces of content to a user and a search engine, this – just like keyword stuffing – allows a website to rank for key terms that aren’t actually relevant to the content on the site.

The final of the holy trinity of blackhat SEO tactics are link redirects. Ever clicked on a site only to end up on something completely different? While link redirects are accepted when they lead to new versions of existing web pages or whole updated websites, Google tends to be pretty pedantic about them and tends to quickly punish websites that look to send traffic elsewhere.

The absolute best way to avoid blackhat SEO is to hire a reputable agency to take care of your digital marketing.

Blackhat SEO – How to Avoid It

It’s always recommended that – unless you’re an experienced professional – you shouldn’t really be managing SEO. The overall process is very delicate and a mistake could lead to irreparable damage to your website. At Odyssey New Media we have seen multiple users who have paid for spammy links in the past; after multiple link disavows and several years of ethical SEO practices their websites are still lagging behind direct competitors.

The absolute best way to avoid blackhat SEO is to hire a reputable agency to take care of your digital marketing. Finding a reputable agency is very simple and you’re likely to get a good idea of their legitimacy through Google or other review platforms. In all honesty, you’re not really going to stumble onto a blackhat agency unless you go very out of your way to find the cheapest option on the market.

Contact Our Experts for Digital Marketing Strategy

Get in touch with our team of Digital Marketing Strategy specialists who have the knowledge and know-how to fully optimise your social media and website, allowing you to enhance the number of leads and conversions your business gets.

Call our team on 0121 439 5450, alternatively fill out our contact form.